Ahead of Capital Craft Beer Festival we interview brewmaster at Brauhaus Am Damm, Imke Pape, discussing what it was that got hew into brewing, the difference between craft beer and other beers and the 500 year old “Reinheitsgebot”.
For those unfamiliar with brewing, explain significance of the name Brauhaus and why brewery is named Brauhaus am Damm?
Brauhaus is the German word for “Brewhouse” and Brauhaus am Damm simply means Brewhouse at the dam. Our brewery is situated in the Magaliesberg region overlooking the Olifantsnek dam.
When was the brewery founded and briefly explain the history of Brauhaus am Damm. Why was Brauhaus established?
Brauhaus am Damm opened its doors in November 2011. We bought the Farmers’ Bräuhaus in Hattingspruit / Natal and gave it a new home near Rustenburg. The brewing equipment is a SALM brewery made in Vienna, Austria. Brauhaus am Damm is the brainchild of Mr. Walter Stallmann and he was able to convince us and a group of friends and investors that it would be an asset to have a private brewery and restaurant in the Rustenburg area.
Do your brewmasters have any type of formal training in brewing science or art? If not, how did they learn the craft?
I am currently the only brewer for Brauhaus am Damm. While dismantling the Brewery in Hattingspuit I fell in love with the kettles and just knew that I had to be part of it. I then made up my mind to be the brewer! After studying the standard brewing books they use in the German universities and a couple of home brews, I went over to Germany and Austria to get hands on experience in 2 Micro Breweries that use the same brewing system as we do. When we commissioned the brewery in 2011 the brew master from the Hannover HBX brewery (where I did one of my practices) flew over to help me with my first 6 brews. To be a good brewer you have to be able to work hard and long hours. You have to pay close attention to hygiene and lastly you have to have passion for beer!
What is the Bavarian “Reinheitsgebot”?
The Bavarian “Reinheitsgebot” is a “purity law” – by the way this year is the 500 year anniversary of this law that governed the production of beer in Germany from 1516 till today. The Reinheitsgebot states that only 4 ingredients may be used to produce beer: Water, Malt, Hops and yeast.
With the brewery named for it proximity to the Olifantsnek Dam it seems the scenic location with the surrounding Magaliesberg mountains are a key part of the Brauhaus brand. How it the essence of the location conveyed in the beers you brew?
Brauhaus am Damm is set in the peaceful and beautiful surroundings of the Magaliesberg and the Olifantsnek dam. We like to think that you will also feel peaceful, relaxed and refreshed when you enjoy one of our natural beers that are brewed with Magaliesberg water, the best ingredients and lots of passion! We take pride in our Motto: “Vollendung durch Leidenschaft” Accomplishment through Passion!
What would you say separates craft beer from mass produced beer? What is it that makes craft beer different from beer that is mass-produced?
Craft beer is brewed for the connoisseur beer drinker, the consumer that wants something unique and different. Craft beer is made by individuals for individuals and not for the masses like mass produced beer. Craft brewers are unlike the main stream brewers not mainly driven by profits, they want to produce a special beer with unique character and taste.
What are some the more unusual ingredients, flavours or style, Brauhaus has experimented with in their beers?
We strive to produce German Style beers which are of consistently high quality. We therefor source the best malt and hop we can get on the market, locally and from Europe. We do however brew speciality beers on a regular basis. Visitors to Brauhaus am Damm had the pleasure of enjoying Kölsch, Bock, Festbier, and Märzen to name a few.
What is the best meal accompaniment to beer?
Beer can be enjoyed with everything! As we are German and produce German Beers we obviously like real German food to go with it.
For Starters a fresh Pretzel with Farmer’ Draught.
Main: Brauhaus Eisbein (cooked in Beer and roasted to perfection) with Brauhaus Pils.
Main: Wiener Schnitzel with Brauhaus Weizen
Dessert: Chocolate Brownie with ice cream and Brauhaus Dunkel
What will be available from Brauhaus am Damm at Capital Craft and will there be any special brews for the event?
Farmers’ Draught – ever so popular Münchner Helles (light lager)
Brauhaus Pils – Pilsner Lager
Brauhaus Dunkle – Münchner Dunkel (dark lager)
Brauhaus Weizen – German Wheat beer – Weissbier
BeerLemon – shandy from Farmers and natural lemon juice
Speciality: Märzen – amber lager (Oktoberfest beer)
For those not so familiar with the craft, what would you say separates a great beer from a good beer?
A great beer is one that you enjoy and would like to have another one! It has to be fresh and clean with character and rich yet refreshing taste.